OCIR Opens To 14,000 With Warren's 6.89
Reprinted from the June 11, 1967 issue of National DRAGSTER
ORANGE COUNTY INT'L. RACEWAY, Irvine, Calif. (Aug. 5) -- James Warren made believers out of those wondering about his recent record performances when he unleashed a stunning 6.89-second elapsed time during the gala opening of Orange County Raceway.
Tom McEwen established the low elapsed time in qualifying with a 7.02 e.t., driving the National Automotive Specialties fueler from North Hollywood.
Other Top Fuel cars qualifying for the $1,000 prize included; Gotelli-Safford 7.09, Atlas Oil Tool 7.27, Crossley-Beebe 7.25, and Hightower and Trotter 7.27.
Larry Stellings' beautiful charger, with Bobby Tapia aboard, nailed down top speed of the meet, 223.32 mph. Tapia squeezed by Kenny Safford's mount as he lost the blower. Tapia went on to defeat Bobby Hightower, driving Duane Trotter's Woody car.
Stellings and Tapia emerged with Top Fuel Elim. as the "Mongoose" McEwen red-lighted on the last round.
Doug Thorley, driving his own 1967 Chevy Corvair, set the pace in "Funny Car" qualifying with an 8.35 e.t. Other qualifiers included Butch Leal 8.68, the "Parts Mart" from Sacramento 9.59, and the 'Vicious 'Vette, Pisano Brothers, "Hairy Canary" and Tom Sturm.
Butch Leal lost an engine, Doug lost his blower on a single pass when the 'Half Breed' lost fire and the "Vicious "Vette lost his motor.
The runner-up in the $1,000 Funny Car Elimination bracket was Ron Runyon [who was 10th qualifier] as he was in the program on the break rule. Runyon turned a respectable 8.69 in his "Blue Hell" from J & D Corvette Center.
On the final go for the cash, Frank Pisano and Ron Runyon left the line together and 400 feet later both Camaro and Corvette let loose with sparks and parts.
Pisano reached the finish line first to the delight of the fans.
Floyd Lippencott drove the "Train" past Walt Rhoades [7.90] and the eventual runner-up, Bob Noice [7.89], to win the $500 Top Gas prize in 7.41, 7.56, 7.59.